University of Texas
Louis Fred Connell
(June 25, 1914–June 24, 2003)

 

 

Louis Fred Connell
Louis Fred Connell


Louis Fred Connell Jr. (1914–2003), earned an MA in 1936, with a thesis entitled, A study of electron diffraction. A quote from the Preface, “Although considerable work has been done in the field of electron diffraction in this country and abroad, no research on this subject had hitherto been undertaken at this institution. It was therefore with the intention of building and operating, with some degree of success, an apparatus suitable for extensive study in this field, that this thesis was undertaken.” The work was supervised by Professor M. Y. Colby with much technical help from Professor Arthur Lockenviitz. Connell’s electron diffraction photographs were likely the first made in Texas. One of the photographs from his thesis is shown below along with his apparatus. Davidson and Germer’s paper first appeared in 1927. Thanks to Manfred Fink for providing Connell’s thesis from Professor Robertson’s books. Connell later taught at North Texas State.

Fred was born in Honey Grove, TX on June 25, 1914, the son of Louis Fred and Hazel Price Connell. After graduating from Henrietta M. King High School of Kingsville, TX, in 1930, he entered Texas College of Arts and Industries at Kingsville, where he majored in physics and for two years was an assistant in physics. After receiving his bachelor's degree in 1934, he was a teacher of science in San Diego, Texas High School for one year.

In 1935, he enrolled in the University of Texas and earned his master's in August, 1936. During the year 1936–37, he was a teacher of physics and general science in the high school at Eagle Pass, TX. From 1937–42 he served first as instructor, then Assistant Professor at the North Texas State Teachers College, Denton, Texas. The summer of 1938 he spent in graduate study at the University of Texas and the summer of 1939 at the University of Michigan.

In May, 1942, he went on active duty as a Lieutenant JG in the U. S. Navy and served as a radar officer until his release to inactive duty in November 1945, at which time he resumed graduate work at UT.

In 1947, he published an article, High Temperature X-Ray Diffraction Camera, in Reviews of Scientific Instruments. He was granted his doctorate in 1948, X-Ray Determination of Thermal Expansion Coefficients of Crystal. The dissertation was supervised by Professor M. Y. Colby. He was appointed to the faculty and taught at the University of Texas at Austin before returning to North Texas in 1951 as chair, a position he held until he returned to full-time teaching in 1969. During his tenure as chair, a new physics building was constructed, a doctoral program in physics was begun and the university gained membership in the Oak Ridge Associated Universities consortium. Connell's professional memberships included the American Physical Society, the American Association of Physics Teachers and Sigma Xi. He conducted summer research at the Oak Ridge National Laboratories in the 1950s and served on several proposal review panels for the National Science Foundation. Fred retired in 1975.

Fred married Geraldine Jopling (1916-2008), who was born in Madisonville, Texas. Gerry went to school in Greenville and Madisonville. She is pictured at right in about 1936. (Picture from Jan Seiler.) She was Phi Beta Kappa at the University of Texas where she majored in Latin and graduated in 2 1/2 years. She moved to Eagle Pass to teach high school Latin and P.E., and there she met the physics teacher, Louis Fred Connell, Jr. She and Fred married in the Kingsville home of Fred’s parents on April 30, 1938. Her Jopling ancestors were early settlers in the Arlington area, where a family cabin is preserved in the Knapp Heritage Park.

In Denton Fred served as a Flow Hospital volunteer and was a co-organizer of the Lifeline program, which connects older people to medical help in an emergency. He was a longtime member of the Board of Directors of Fairhaven Retirement Home and was on the council at Good Samaritan Village, where he and his wife had lived since 1991. He died in 2003. His wife Gerry died in 2008.

 

Obituary for Geralidine Jopling Connell, wife of Louis F. Connell.

Geraldine Jopling Connell, 91, was born in Madisonville, Texas, on April 9, 1916, and passed away on Sunday, February 17, 2008, in Richardson, Texas, surrounded by family.

Gerry went to school in Greenville and Madisonville. She attended the University of Texas, where she majored in Latin and graduated Phi Beta Kappa in two and a half years. She moved to Eagle Pass to teach high school Latin and P.E., and there, she met the physics teacher, Louis Fred Connell, Jr. She and Fred married in the Kingsville home of Fred’s parents on April 30, 1938.

After Fred finished graduate school in Austin, they moved to Denton where Fred chaired the physics department at North Texas and Geraldine taught Latin at Denton High School. They were active members of First Presbyterian Church: Gerry taught Sunday school classes and was active in the Presbyterian Women, serving as an officer several times. In 1989 her church designated her ‘Presbyterian Woman of the Year’. Gerry volunteered at Flow Memorial Hospital as a Pink Lady for many years, and in the 1980s, she and Fred helped start and oversee the Lifeline program in Denton.

Gerry was preceded in death by her parents, John Julian and Anna Lena Dean Jopling; her husband, Fred; her sister, Ruth Jopling Reed; and brothers, Julian Lawson Jopling and Hulon Sterling Jopling. Her Jopling ancestors were early settlers in the Arlington area, where a family cabin is preserved in the Knapp Heritage Park.

Gerry’s survivors include son, Fred and his wife, Tschera; daughter, Carolyn; son, Jim and his wife, Jamie; six grandchildren, Catherine Tucker Klehr and husband, Jeremy, Daniel Klehr, Ruth Sara Connell, James Frederick Tucker, Beth Harkness Connell, Ryan Thomas Connell and wife, Brittany, Teller Connell, and Courtney Leigh Connell; and one great-grandchild, Elisabeth Anna Lena Klehr. Several nieces and nephews also survive her.

The family wishes to thank Gerry’s loving caregivers at Good Samaritan Village in Denton, at Lexington Place and Lindan Park in Dallas, and at Families’ Choice in Richardson.

A memorial service to celebrate Gerry’s life will be held on Wednesday, February 20, at 10:30 a.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 1114 W. University Avenue, Denton, Texas 76201. The family will be available for visiting after the service.

Obituary for Louis Fred Connell
From Denton Record Chronicle, June 2003

LOUIS FRED CONNELL JR., 88, Professor Emeritus of physics who worked at North Texas from 1937 to 1942 and 1951 to 1975, died June 24 in Denton. He received his bachelor's degree in 1934 from the Texas College of Arts and Industries in Kingsville and earned his master's in 1936 and his doctorate in 1948, both from the University of Texas at Austin. He joined the North Texas faculty in 1937 after two years of high school teaching, leaving in 1942 to serve as a Navy radar officer during World War II. He taught at the University of Texas at Austin before returning to North Texas in 1951 as chair of the Department of Physics, a position he held until he returned to full-time teaching in 1969. During his tenure as chair, a new physics building was constructed, a doctoral program in physics was begun and the university gained membership in the Oak Ridge Associated Universities consortium. Connell's professional memberships included the American Physical Society, the American Association of Physics Teachers and Sigma Xi. He conducted summer research at the Oak Ridge National Laboratories in the 1950s and served on several proposal review panels for the National Science Foundation.

In Denton he served as a Flow Hospital volunteer and was a co-organizer of the Lifeline program, which connects older people to medical help in an emergency. He was a longtime member of the board of directors of Fairhaven Retirement Home and was on the council at Good Samaritan Village, where he and his wife had lived since 1991.

Survivors include his wife of 65 years, Geraldine; two sons, Fred Jopling Connell of Columbus, Ohio, and James Richard Connell of Garland; one daughter, Carolyn Connell of Salt Lake City, Utah; six grandchildren; and one great-granddaughter.

Louis Fred Connell Jr.
Louis Fred Connell Jr. died at Denton Regional Medical Center on Tuesday, June 24, one day shy of his 89th birthday. The entire family was in Denton to celebrate their parents’ 65th wedding anniversary, so Fred was surrounded by loving family and friends in his last days.

Fred was born June 25, 1914, in Honey Grove, Fannin County, Texas, son of Louis Fred and Hazel Price Connell. He attended public schools in Honey Grove, Denton, Austin and Kingsville, Texas, and received a BA degree in 1934 from the Texas College of Arts and Industries (now Texas A&M University at Kingsville). He received his MA (1936) and PhD (1948) degrees in physics from the University of Texas at Austin .

Following two years of high school teaching, he came to NTSTC (now UNT) in 1937 as an instructor in physics. From 1942 to 1945, he served as a radar officer in the Navy, with ranks from lieutenant (JG) to commander. He was an assistant professor of physics at the University of Texas at Austin from 1947 to 1951, and from 1951 to 1975, was a professor of physics at UNT. He served as department chair from 1951 to 1969. Highlights of his UNT physics career included his design of the physics-math building, constructed in 1958; the Ph.D. program in physics, begun in 1964; and the school’s admittance into membership in the Oak Ridge Associated Universities. Fred spent two summers (1954 and 1957) at the Oak Ridge National Labs. Professional memberships included American Physical Society, American Association of Physics Teachers and Sigma Xi; and honorary memberships included Alpha Chi and Sigma Pi Sigma.

Fred married Geraldine Jopling in Kingsville on April 30, 1938. Fred met Gerry while the two taught high school in Eagle Pass, Texas, in 1936.

As a member of First Presbyterian Church in Denton, Fred served as deacon, elder and Sunday school superintendent, and on numerous committees. His other service to the community included serving as a Flow Hospital volunteer and as a co-organizer, with friend John Curry, of the Denton Lifeline program. He was a longtime member of the board of directors of Fairhaven Retirement Home and was on the council at Good Samaritan Village, where he and Gerry have lived since 1991.

Survivors include his beloved wife of 65 years, Geraldine; children, Fred Jopling Connell and wife Tschera of Columbus, Ohio, James Richard Connell and wife Jamie of Garland, Texas, and Carolyn Connell of Salt Lake City, Utah; grandchildren, Catherine Tucker Klehr and husband Jeremy, Ruth Sara Connell, James Frederick Tucker, Beth Harkness Connell, Ryan Thomas Connell and Courtney Leigh Connell; and one great-grandchild, Elisabeth Anna Lena Klehr, 7 months old, whom Fred met for the first time this month.

Fred was preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Sara Frances Connell Wells.

A memorial service celebrating Fred’s life will be held at First Presbyterian Church, Denton, at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 28, 2003. Officiating will be the Rev. Steve Nilmeier and Gerry’s great-nephew, the Rev. John Barrett.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that memorial donations be made to one of the following: First Presbyterian Church, Denton; SPAN-Lifeline; Good Samaritan Village of Denton; or a charity of one’s choice.

Acknowledgements: Thanks to Professor Ruth Connell, grandaughter of Louis and Gerry Connell, for directing me to several original photos of Louis.

Louis F. Connell Photo Album

Electron Diffraction Image from Louis Connell's dissertation.

Electron Diffraction Apparatus from Louis Connell's dissertation.

Electron Diffraction Apparatus, Louis Connell's dissertation.
Louis Connell, U. of North Texas, 1938
Louis Fred Connell Jr., U. of North Texas
John Julian and his children
abt 1921
Madisonville, Madison, Texas
This is a photograph of John Julian Jopling and his 4 children, probably taken about a year after his wife's death in 1920. Perhaps he wanted to preserve the memory of his family before the children were sent to relatives to be raised. Pictured from the top left are Julian Lawson, about 15, Hulon, 11, Gerry, 5 and Ruth 4.
Picture from Jan Seiler.

Ruth and Gerry Jopling
1919
Madisonville, Madison, Texas
Ruth (left), about 2, and Gerry Jopling, about 3 years of age, daughters of John Julian and Anna Dean Jopling.
Picture from Jan Seiler.